Archive for April, 2009

Windows Mobile OS Converts Voice To Text

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Microsoft is optimistic its speech recognition technology for Windows Mobile will draw more customers. On Wednesday, Microsoft planned to announce a service for smartphones that will use its new Windows Mobile 6.5 OS (operating system). The service will let people dictate text messages.

Cell phone users will be able to generate text merely by talking into the electronic device. It will be interesting to see how this feature will be used by consumers. Although Microsoft has focused on the sending of text messages, the speech-recognition feature could conceivably be used to transcribe other kinds of information.

Speech recognition technology could be used by businesses along with other Microsoft applications
This feature could be particularly helpful when it is more convenient for the user to talk than type. For example, a user may have a presentation to deliver at 3 p.m. In the morning, while in transit, the user can speak into the cell phone and generate text for use in the presentation. The text can then be sent to an appropriate email address and imported into Microsoft’s presentation software application, PowerPoint, residing on a computer. Once in PowerPoint, the text can be formatted in accordance with the user’s preferences.
Microsoft’s new OS will let people search the Internet and place calls merely by speaking

Microsoft’s voice activation software will also allow people to search the Internet by speaking into the cell phone. The software will default to Microsoft Live Search, but users will have the freedom to select Google or another search engine instead, if they wish. In addition, the new OS will let people initiate phone calls by speaking, rather than keying in telephone numbers or selecting an entry from a contact list.

Windows Mobile 6.5 to emerge in second half of 2009

The Windows Mobile 6.5 OS is scheduled to appear on phones during the second half of 2009. The technology comes from Tellme Networks, a company that develops specialized telecom systems using use voice recognition. Microsoft acquired the company in 2007.

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FCC Approves 3G Sony Ericsson Walkman Flip

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The FCC has recently approved the Sony Ericsson W518a, a clamshell Walkman phone similar in most respects to the W508a bound for AT&T’s network. Confirmed specs include quad-band GSM/EDGE, dual-band 850/1900 HSDPA, GPS and Bluetooth radios. It also has two displays, a camera and external music controls. The draft user manual mentions a number of AT&T specific services, such as Video Share and MEdiaNet. It also notes that the W518a includes an FM radio, M2 memory card support and Sony Ericsson’s Walkman features, such as SensMe. Neither Sony Ericsson nor AT&T have officially announced this phone. Pricing and availability is unknown.

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Nokia Culls 450 Jobs Worldwide

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The world’s leading handset maker Nokia on Tuesday announced that it would axe another 450 jobs across the globe, in a bid to reduce costs to address the slumping demand for mobile phones.

“Altogether, approximately 450 employees globally will be impacted by the plans announced today, of which a maximum of 100 in Finland”, the company said in a statement.

The move is intended to realigning its flourishing services business, and to bolster avenues for third party developers along with enhancing the creation of common platform for its various offerings.

The company further went on to say that the new set of changes, which involves making its variety of gaming contents to be available via its signature Ovi Store along with other existing dedicated channels, will eventually lead to simplified and better user experience across its services.

In addition, the Finnish giant avowed that it would add a wide range of third party partners, including social networking platforms, to its devices’ image capture and sharing capabilities.

Earlier this month, the company reported a whopping 90 percent drop in profits for the first quarter to 122 million euros, while its earnings were impacted by declining handset demands amid global economic crunch.

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The Most Used Mobile Browser – Opera

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With a history dating back to the public release of version 2.0 in 1996 (1994 saw the start of development, back before there was an Internet Explorer), today’s web browser is one which you may have heard of, though you’ve probably never used it on your computer. With less than a 1% penetration of the market, Opera would seem to be a non-entity and hardly worthy of mention, yet for many reasons this is far from the truth. This is because Opera may have the best features you’ll ever use, even if you never install it.

As the first PC browser to integrate tabbed-browsing (in 2000), mouse gestures (in 2001), bit torrent and widgets (in 2006) and speed dial (in 2007) the software has had a big influence on every other browser in existence. In fact, just looking at the features timeline is impressive and a good way to spend a few minutes of your day since you’ll come across some things which will undoubtedly make their way into all the other browsers eventually. While the massive “browser wars” resulting in lawsuits were centered on English-speaking markets served to draw a lot of attention to the participants (such as yesterday’s download), Opera has done historically quite well in many other regions, such as Eastern Europe.

Opera’s major drawback has consistently been the difficulties the browser has had with certain web sites not working on it. While web standards are there to be adhered to, Opera’s position as one of the most stringent browsers available has hurt it when faced with improper coding on some major sites. While other major browsers’ less-picky engines muddle through and deal with faulty web code, Opera has often failed, making it less appealing. After all, who wants a browser that can’t access a web page? Despite this Opera is the browser of choice for Nintendo’s Wii and DS platforms as the Japanese company felt that Opera was the only clear choice for their console and portable game player. In addition, Opera is installed and used on millions of handheld devices such as smartphones, PDAs and mobile phones, making it the leading mobile browser.

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Super-Slim Phones Have The Power Of Laptops

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Think of Toshiba’s TG01 cellphone as the world’s smallest PC. It powers 3-D games, plays high-definition movies, and smoothly runs many programs at once, a combo few other phones offer. Yet it’s less than four tenths of an inch thick — 20 percent thinner than an iPhone — thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon system, which packs several previously separate chips into one case the size of a dime.

Snapdragon builds in a speedy one-gigahertz processor (about as powerful as a budget laptop’s) as well as a graphics chip, a GPS receiver, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, and a fast cellular data chip that can work on any network. By putting all these pieces in one package, Qualcomm can eliminate the usual bulky cover around each individual chip. The compact result won’t hog your battery, either — the main processor boasts low-power transistors and runs at top speed only when needed. Even at full tilt, it sips only half a watt, far less than other processors that run at around the same speed.

The TG01 hits Europe this summer. Qualcomm says other gadget manufacturers, including Samsung and LG, will release Snapdragon phones later this year, possibly in the U.S.

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Samsung's New Android-Powered I7500

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Despite rumors that Samsung’s Android device production would be delayed until late 2009, the South Korean company yesterday introduced its first Android powered device, the I7500, which according to JK Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Mobile Communication Division in Samsung Electronics,” is “most innovative Android mobile phone.” It will be the third Android powered device on the market, after the HTC Magic and the T-Mobile G1.

The I7500 is a candy bar style phone with a 3.2 inch HVGA (320 X 480) AMOLED touch screen. It measures about 4.5″ X 2.2″ X .4″ and does not have a physical keyboard. It has 8 GB internal memory plus a microSD expansion slot that supporrts up to 32 GB. The I7500 features a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus. It operates on HSDPA 7.2Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps (900 / 1700/ 2100MHz), EDGE / GPRS (850/ 900/1800/1900) networks and also features Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi and MicroUSB connectivity. With the Android OS and an integrated GPS receiver it obviously supports the various Google services including Gmail, Maps, Latitude, StreetView, Calendar and of course the Android Market. It has a 1500mAh battery and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a release date for the U.S. market just yet (although new information on that should be available soon). It will be available in European markets beginning in June. Its support of the 900/1700/2100MHz bands makes it compatible with T-Mobile’s 3G network, so perhaps that’s where we will see its U.S. debut. There is no word yet on the price in either market.

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Verizon May Be Discussing New iPhones

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As Apple and AT&T continue talks about extending their iPhone relationship, rumors are flying about new iPhone devices and a possible deal with Verizon Wireless.
According to a story in Monday’s Business Week and elsewhere, Apple is discussing with Verizon the possibility of distributing two new iPhone descendants. One is being described as an “iPhone lite,” and the other as a media pad for listening to music, watching high-definition video, looking at photos, and making phone calls over Wi-Fi. AT&T currently is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S.

Smaller Than Kindle

The magazine said the media-pad device would be smaller than Amazon’s Kindle, but with a larger screen. The publication said its information comes from two anonymous sources “familiar with the matter.”

AT&T has acknowledged that it’s talking to Apple about continuing its exclusive U.S. deal for the iPhone, and Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam has similarly confirmed that he has been talking with Apple CEO and cofounder Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave. Verizon didn’t give any indication whether the discussion was about handling the current iPhone 3G or if it involved new devices.

The iPhone is currently designed for a GSM network like AT&T’s, not for Verizon’s CDMA technology. But Verizon is moving aggressively toward a 4G/Long Term Evolution technology, which is growing worldwide.

Each of the carriers has strong arguments in favor of coming to terms with Apple, for the iPhone or for newer devices. While Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart noted that he doesn’t comment on rumors, he pointed out that these reasons are central to understanding why this story has gotten the play it has.

‘Critical to AT&T’

“The iPhone has been absolutely critical to AT&T,” he said, noting that the carrier’s deal with Apple has resulted in 1.6 million high-value subscribers in the last quarter alone. “Verizon Wireless is growing without the iPhone,” he said, “and AT&T is growing because of it.”

Other fuel for this rumor wildfire, he said, has been that both companies have acknowledged their discussions, and there have been long-standing rumors “going back at least five years” about Apple building a tablet computer. There have also been persistent rumors that Apple has been on the verge of releasing a smaller iPhone, dubbed the iPhone Nano by some observers.

Greengart pointed out that there has been a lot of discussion by industry observers about ways in which Apple could broaden its product line, especially given the growth of the netbook category and Apple’s leading position in wireless devices because of the iPhone.

And, he said, there’s one additional factor. “There are a lot of Verizon Wireless customers who are unwilling to leave the carrier,” he said, “but who want an iPhone.” Anecdotally, he noted a number of people have asked him, “When will Verizon Wireless get the iPhone?”

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